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Nonprofit Overview

Causes: Adult Education, Education, Elementary & Secondary Schools, Job Training, Literacy

Mission: RAFT (Resource Area For Teaching) believes that hands-on teaching is the best way for students to learn. RAFT transforms surplus materials donated by local businesses into interactive learning experiences for students in math, science, technology and art, providing teachers and community groups with creative tools to enhance education and promote hands-on learning.

Results: RAFT is an innovative nonprofit (501c3) pursuing the advancement of hands-on learning in our schools. It was founded in San Jose, California in 1994 as the creation of Mary Simon, who continues to lead the organization. The RAFT programs serve 10,000 teacher members at the two sites. The organization operates on a $3 million annual budget used to operate programs and subsidize teachers, providing needed tools for teaching, and professional development opportunities. * Hundreds of Innovative Idea Sheets, tied to CA state standards are posted on the RAFT web site, * 50,000 classroom kits (assembled by volunteers) are provided each year for state-standard aligned activities.

Target demographics: Pre-K through 12th grade teachers. Many children learn best through the exercise of tactile and kinesthetic senses. RAFT provides hands-on teaching tools for over 800,000 students throughout the Bay Area.

Direct beneficiaries per year: 7.500 teachers throughout the Bay Area

Geographic areas served: Greater San Francisco Bay Area with affiliates in Sacramento, CA and Denver, CO

Programs: RAFT collects the surplus items from local businesses and transforms them into learning materials in math, science and art. RAFT also offers professional classes for teachers to improve their hands-on teaching skills. 600 teachers come to our facility each week to gather supplies and learn new teaching techniques.

Community Stories

30 Stories from Volunteers, Donors & Supporters

12 sandan@dslextreme.com

Client Served

Rating: 5

I have taken many workshops over the years but the workshops that I took this summer: weaving, nature journals, and innovation were fun, stimulating and helped me go back to school with exciting new ideas!

14

Client Served

Rating: 5

This is your one stop shop for ideas and supplies to make your teaching more hands-on. The ladies in the green room are wonderful at helping you get your ideas from concept to fruition.

15

Client Served

Rating: 5

I go to RAFT for Cub Scouts, Boy Scouts, Sunday School, youth religious class and for a hands-on science class There are always so many new materials and ideas available. And if I do purchase something, try it out and it's not a great success with the students, I am out only a few dollars. The staff and classes are so informative and helpful. Can't say enough good things about RAFT. Thanks to everyone who works there and to the people and corporations who donate to RAFT!

16

Client Served

Rating: 5

I love RAFT, and go there at least twice a month (even though it's at least an hour/60 mile drive for me). The workshops I have taken over the past 6 years have made me a much better teacher. I have a wide collection of hands-on activities and lessons to bring to my students on a wide range of subjects and levels. I recommend going to RAFT to all of my teaching acquaintances. I also buy an amazing amount of materials to share with my students (Title 1)-- they love it! The kits really help me teach. And the fun, creative objects (I don't know what to call the wide range of things that you can get at RAFT) have broadened my teaching and creativity....Also, I'm in love with the incredibly-priced Klutz books! What a treat! What a privilege!

13

Client Served

Rating: 4

I have been a member of RAFT for at least 10 years and find it a fantastic resource for all the youth organizations I'm involved with. Great teacher lesson idea sheets, classes & kits. Most effective resource to stretch a limit public school budget. The variety of supplies is excellent and constantly updated with new items. Newsletter email announcements keep us informed on the latest info. I recommend anyone involved in a nonprofit group take the time to visit RAFT, its worth your time.

12

Client Served

Rating: 5

RAFT offers incredible bargains for teachers. The thing I like best about it is that they have created activities and lessons for teachers and packaged up all the materials and instructions ahead of time. They have great ideas and great bargains. The people are very friendly, outgoing and helpful. I drove a long distance to come here and would come back again.

12

Client Served

Rating: 5

I have been coming to RAFT for a few years. It has saved me hundreds of dollars. I would be lost without it. The stickers are the best in the area.

11

Client Served

Rating: 4

As a first time visitor to RAFT, I have found a wealth of resources that will make our classroom learning environment more dynamic. The pre-packaged science kits are user friendly. Also there is a wealth of KLUTZ art books that give crafty ideas to run with. Overall, I can see myself coming back time and again.

15

Client Served

Rating: 5

Excellent materials, well-organized, great hours, helpful staff, and wonderful prices. I appreciate RAFT and the opportunities it affords me to present to my students.

Previous Stories
12

Client Served

Rating: 5

Wonderful resources for teachers to get ideas to use recyclables. Great prices for teachers to use materials for all areas of learning and all ages.